Thursday, March 29, 2007

Saturday, Mar. 31, 2007 - Cassie Again

Since I was afraid to ruin the portrait of Cassie in Hat and was stuck with it - I decided to start over fresh with a new drawing and new portrait from photos I took at the workshop.

Sometimes you just have to start over. I've got the sketch done - freehand on 11 x 14 newsprint and then traced the contours onto wc paper. Hope to have some painting time tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Thursday, Mar. 29, 2007 - Fitton Center/GHAE Show

Today, I took 2 paintings and Jerry took 2 photographs to the Fitton Center to enter in their juried show (Greater Hamilton Art Exhibit). I hope they all are accepted into the show...wish us luck!!

I'm entering Geisha No. 5 - Red Umbrella (watercolor and gouache on gold gessoed paper)


Blue Dream Rhino (watercolor on gessoed paper)

Jerry is entering Dogwood Blossom


Frog on a Stick

Now that those are taken care of (we hear about acceptance in 2 weeks), I need to get ready for the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society show at Evergreen this spring. That paperwork is due April 4th so I have to choose 2 more paintings which means choosing something already matted and framed or having something else matted and framed.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2007 - What's in Your Mailbox?

Over at my SWAP (SharingWithArtistPartners) group, we were talking about mail delivery. Since we have paintings mailed from/to the US, the UK, Canada, India, Germany, Brazil, Australia, the Philippines and Spain, we wondered what each mailbox or post office looked like.
Some of us painted mailboxes in our area - this is mine in my neighborhood = out on the curb by the driveway, one in front of each house.
The mailman/woman drives to each, depositing the mail in each box unless it's too much for the box to hold - then he/she stops the truck and brings the mail to the door.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2007 - Portrait of Mohan

Did this painting of my artist friend, Mohan. We never met face-to-face but just talked via emails. You never know how you are going to touch someone's life by any number of little things you do. I didn't do him justice with this portrait but I think I got close...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Monday, Mar. 26, 2007 - Fear

There comes a time when you know what the painting needs but you are afraid of finishing it because you think you will ruin it. That's where I am right now with Cassie. The fear of ruining the painting - ending badly - keeps me from putting paint to paper on this one. It sits and mocks me, telling me, "You know I'm not finished. You know I need more work." And yet I seem unable to go back to it.

So what do you do when the fear takes over? And how long before you regain your courage and go back to work on something that needs more work. Perhaps this is what sorts out the wheat from the chaff. Cowards (chaff) are lost by the wayside because they can't finish properly. The brave (wheat) strive on, even if it means "ruining" something that has taken hold of you. And for goodness sakes, why should a piece of paper with paintbrush strokes on it take hold of you?

I thought maybe I need to get in touch with something personal - more heartfelt - in order to break through the fear. So I took out a photo I've had around for a few months of a friend who is no longer with us. I know he's painting somewhere...

I did a quick sketch to warm up and then another - this one looks more like him so I'll share it. Then I traced out the photo onto tracing paper and then traced that onto wc paper. How do I want to paint this? How would he paint it? How to show his essence that goes beyond the photo?

And again, I'm stuck. Well, shoot! So I went outside and took a photo of my mailbox - because we've been talking about painting our mailboxes at the SWAP group,
to show how our paintings are delivered. So is this inspiring? No. It's an overcast day so no great light and dark areas - I could create them...
Where does one go from here and why does it seem like such a struggle at times?
More to come later...I hope!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Thursday, Mar. 22, 2007 - Unfinished Portrait of Cassie

I have 2 portraits to finish. I have the Gators to begin. I need to stop jumping around and just get to it. So that's what I'm going to do today....

I worked more on Cassie from the workshop, adding some darks in the shadow side and the light side, modeling a bit as I go. I think she needs a bit more to make it look better. Will let it sit and study it a while to see where I need to work on softening hard lines, blending, punching up the color, etc. I don't want to lose that watercolor wet-in-wet look, though!

While I was letting this one rest, I went back to Robinson's book and did another little seascape - well, this one is more about the rocks and he talks about charging the color into the wet paint in the rocks and the water. And when I took it off the block, I tore the top/sky area so it's smaller than 5" x 8" but I still like it. I think I'm about ready to go bigger, though.

Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2007 - Little Seas No. 2

Did another little painting of the sea. Jerry and I travel to so many places that have beautiful seashores and waves, I need to learn to paint them! And I like this small, 5" x 8" size, too - much easier to try this size than the 1/2 sheet size we all tried in class Monday.

I highly recommend E. John Robinson's book, Paint the Sea and Shoreline in Watercolor Using Special Effects. He even has detailed work on the construction of waves and how they look - and why - in varying weather conditions. The video is good, too. (He uses sandpaper to scrape out some whites in the foamy area and it works great.) The little painting is from his book, learning how to make the waves and the rocks look right until I can work on my own photos.

Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2007 - Geisha No. 5 Framed

Well, after some hassle picking out a frame I liked that I could also afford, Sandy helped me choose one. Then found out it was out of stock so had to choose another larger one, same pattern. And all this while I had the headcold from hell and couldn't think! Such is life...
Geisha No. 5 will be entered in the Fitton Center show - work to be hand delivered March 29-31. She is matted in white with a red inner core - looks good - and the frame is 2 inches wide (not too big for it at all). The pattern in the frame is beautiful - a soft blurred cherry blossom print with dark lines like calligraphic strokes on it. I can't get a good photo of it but it really adds to the look of the piece.
So here she is, in her finest: Geisha No. 5 - Red Umbrella
Watercolor and gouache on gold-gessoed paper.

Sorry, I need Jerry to take a better photo of it before I take it away to the show to be chosen (I hope). It was on a slant in the sunroom because I was trying to not get lights in the glass showing back at me.

Without mat and frame:

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday, Mar. 19, 2007 - Doing The Wave

In class today, Sandy did a demo of a big wave (from my suggestion last week) but I forgot we were doing it so I didn't take any of Jerry's pics that would have worked. So we all followed along with Sandy, working on a 1/2 sheet - and I overworked and killed my wave - not once but twice! Really bad stuff. I would share but I tore them up when I got home - that's how bad they were.

When I got home I took out my E. John Robinson book on painting the sea and did a small one that turned out okay. I guess I don't work well intuitively, without a photo. How do some artists create images in their heads and then get them down on paper? It's beyond me...and I don't know if it takes an imagination I don't have or just practice practice practice like everything else in painting.

My little painting is 5" x 8". I taped off a 10" x 14" watercolor block of Arches coldpress into 2 sections with a 3rd section for color swatches. Didn't turn out too badly - I need to straighten that horizon line, though...

Robinson recommends using: manganese blue, cerulean blue and ultramarine blue, viridian, phthalo green, and hooker's green to make all water. I used what I had - cobalt, cerulean, ultramarine turquoise, cobalt violet deep, and french Ultramarine blue.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Saturday, Mar. 17, 2007 - Gator Grid and "Shark"

Finished the Gators grid and traced it onto wc paper. Will trace it again - better to have 2 copies to work from than one and then face all that tracing again when I'm not in the mood if I need another copy.

Also, took out one of the portraits I started in the JRogers workshop and fiddled with it a while. About 1/2 hour too long and I just didn't feel any spark while working with it so nothing special. Lost the whites and had to go back with some gouache to touch up the beard, moustache and hair in places. I think I'll enjoy working with the other portraits more - but I'll watch Janet's dvd before putting more paint on them.

I did get some more age on him, which was needed, but there is just something sneaky and/or cocky about his look - so I'm calling him Shark!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Thursday, Mar. 15, 2007 - Light and Dark

I'm beginning to feel human again and have begun thinking about painting again. This photo Jerry took at The Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Florida, had such a great abstracted look to it - just darks and lights.

It also reminded me of a Sargent painting I'd seen (I'll find it and attach it, too), that I wanted to try to capture the abstracted shapes. Whew! Not trying to bite off too much, am I? haha

Knowing that I'd get lost quickly in the shapes without help, I drew a grid on the photo and then gridded up to my tracing paper size, filling in the boxes with what I see there - it does help. So far, I'm about 1/2 way finished with the drawing on tracing paper - then I'll transfer that to my wc paper as a contour drawing. I'm going to make it a 1/2 sheet.
Stay tuned for the drawing - I may trace this onto wc paper twice, just in case...

And for that John Singer Sargent watercolor, here it is, titled Muddy Alligators and painted in 1917.
If you love his work, as I do, you'll enjoy touring the John Singer Sargent Virtual Gallery ( created by a woman named Natasha who has gathered many of his best works, his best-known works and his most loved works together all at one site! It's amazing!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Monday, Mar. 12, 2007 - Class Work

Still fighting the cold I caught from my husband - who caught it from our youngest granddaughter, Alaina - it sure goes around, especially around kids :) Class was cancelled - Sandy's grandson sick, too. I'll have to wait until next Monday to take the paintings to be framed for the GCWS show at the Evergreen Retirement Center May - June and the geisha for the Fitton Center show.

Today is going to be a day spent reading on the sofa or in bed and sleeping.

I did get my husband to take my SWAP painting to the post office this afternoon. And a little something for my friend, Teresa, in Spain is now on it's way...hope you enjoy it, Sweetie Girl!

Sunday, Mar. 11, 2007 - TSP Show at the Sharon Centre

If you're in the Greater Cincinnati area, take a trip to Sharon Woods and the Sharon Centre to see the TriState Photography show. The reception is 1-4 today and the photographers will be there.

If you're a birder, you'll love the bird photos done by Richard and Margaret Jones. Or you may want one of Jerry's (my husband) spring tree frogs taken here at our home or the red-eyed tree frog photos taken with "George," a loaner from a Biology student :)

There are nature and travel photos and birds and frogs and lions and gorillas much to see!

Friday, March 9, 2007

Saturday, Mar. 10, 2007 - I'm Painting Today!

Today was the first time since we returned from our Florida trip that I've had a chance to paint but I had to get something started for my SWAP partner that has to be mailed Monday. It's not done but just needs a bit of tweaking, I think. I can't show it until he gets it :)

I have to choose 2 paintings to put into the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society spring show at Evergreen Retirement Center - that is coming up in May and whatever I choose will need to be matted and framed since I have so few things that are ready. That show is water media.
I'm thinking about these two. They won't be hung together so one won't overpower the other.

I also have to choose 2 pieces for the Fitton Center Show - and that deadline is March 29-31. It's a juried show so I may not get in - but I did last year and you can be more open with media, not just watercolor (although that's all I do even though I may choose different grounds, etc.)

I intend to frame the geisha in a bamboo-like frame. This is a 1/2 sheet painting so will be fairly large when I mat and frame it.

The second choice is the Blue Rhino I did a while back (it can be anything created in the last 3 years as long as it's not been shown at the Fitton Center). The Blue Rhino has already been matted and framed - I did it last summer or fall so it's fine with the timeline. The Rhino is also a half sheet and then matted and framed so both are large paintings for me.

Friday, Mar. 9, 2007 - TriState Photographic Society Show

Today, I helped my husband, Jerry, set up his TriState Photographic Society show at the Sharon Centre at Sharon Woods. The show looks great - hope many in the area can attend as there are matted and framed prints for reasonable prices and even matted prints and cards cards cards for sale.

My scanner made the pics darker than they are in real life but here's the front of the flyer they used to promote the show. The Sharon Centre is 11450 Lebanon Road, Cincinnati OH.

Now I have to get busy with my SWAP painting for my partner - I am mailing outside the US so have to have the painting in the mail on Monday the 12th! I usually have a backup painting or two I can send if I don't have time to paint something for SWAP but this time I wanted to do something a bit more masculine since my artist partner is male this time (our group only has 4 men so that's a good hint, guys - but all of you are outside the US doesn't give you an extra hint). I won't be able to post the finished product until my partner receives the painting, though - just in case he checks out my blog every now and then.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Thursday, Mar. 8, 2007 - Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society

Yesterday, I took on the duties of Recording Secretary for the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. And, for our guest artist, we had Bruce Neville give a talk and a demonstration on the importance of value studies using a Tombow pen (available at DickBlick and ASW). Bruce paints wonderful watercolors filled with light and loves architectural works. Check out his webpage at and go to the main gallery to see some stunning pieces.

We have such a wealth of instruction and helpful artists in the group! Several of the members went to the Cincinnati Art Museum ( after the meeting and had lunch and then toured the Andrew Wyeth exhibit there. I walked through rooms filled with paintings of the Olson house; sketches and preliminary studies of the house; and various aspects of the Olson's way of life done in charcoal, watercolor, tempura and graphite. (Many of you will know the famous painting, Christina's World painted in 1948 of the woman at the bottom of the hillside leaning towards the house far away).

Seeing these pieces was a once-in-a-lifetime event since this collection is housed permanently in Japan. The paintings were stunning and I'm sorry I had to leave early due to back pain that kept me from enjoying the display fully. I may have to return another time since it runs until May. If you're in the Greater Cincinnati area, please do check it out!

Here's the CAM brochure with just one of the watercolor paintings shown. Christina's World is permanently housed at the Museum of Modern Art (NY).

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2007 - Blind Contour Sketches, Preliminary Sketches, and One More Portrait

Before we ever picked up our brushes, Janet had us loosen up and helped us "see the forms" by having us do about 1/2 dozen blind contour drawings. These were done by putting our paper in front of us, looking at the model, and drawing the model while NEVER looking back at our paper = blind drawing! haha Fun but crazy and it helped us warm up. The idea was not to have something that looked good at the end but to have our eyes and hands coordinate.

Then we did some preliminary sketches before painting the models.

Then we got right into painting after watching Janet do several demos for us. She is completely open to suggestions - if you need help with eyes, she'll do just eyes. If you need help with mouths, she'll do just mouths, etc. But she doesn't like doing ears - so you're on your own there :)

My portrait of Skip trimmed off about 20 years but it's not finished - so as I work on this, he'll age a bit more (I hope). Although he came by and looked at the finished pieces and thanked me for making him young again :) I'm not as happy with this one as I am with the other two portraits but Janet said it looks like him and I caught his glance and attitude - high praise!

A Janet Rogers quote: "They aren't wrinkles. They're just value changes."
So the next time you look in the mirror, just tell yourself this :)

Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2007 - Portraits from Janet Rogers Workshop

I started 3 portraits in the 3-day workshop but none of these are finished, although I like them all so far. I am trying to paint more watery and pale - more romantic and soft than I usually do. I really want to loosen up and let the paint do its thing without overworking and "petting the paper" as my teacher, Sandy Maudlin says :)

First = from a photo I found in the Image Reference Library (IRL) at WetCanvas - the photographer ID was crias and this is titled Native Beauty.

Right now, I need to push the skintones a bit to compliment the hair, wrapped braids and collar more. Janet showed us how to do eyes to make them glow and sparkle and I think I got it.

Second = a live model, Cassie, she is 15 but I have made her look younger - with the next layer of color I think she'll age a few years. In this one so far, I'm most happy with the mouth because it isn't outlined or harsh looking but blended and soft.

Janet put the two models (both teenaged girls) in big floppy hats and soft romantic puffy sleeved tops and they looked wonderful. I think they enjoyed their new outfits, too, with long, flouncy skirts to go with their blouses.
I'd only done work with live models once before and this was a real treat. I was surprised at how many people didn't take advantage of the models, though, and only worked from photos they brought from home. I love photos but they just don't have the immediacy of the person in front of you, seeing the lights and shadows on their faces and their clothing. I'm hoping to do more of this locally, if I can find a class this spring.
Since I had to fly, I didn't take full sized sheets but used 1/4 sheets for all of the work done in the workshop.

Monday Mar. 5, 2007 - Janet Rogers

Well, we got back Saturday afternoon but have been busy busy busy catching up since then! The Janet Rogers workshop was wonderful - 3 days of painting from live models and photos with her granddaughter Cassandra and her friend, Brittany as models Day 1 and 2 and then and older gentleman named Skip all day on Day 3. I have 3 paintings to share - when I get time to get a photo and scan them in.

Janet is a doll, a fine artist, and a wonderful person - I highly recommend her workshops and her style of painting. Here's a business card of her's showing one of her brilliant portraits. Check out her webpage at where you can view her work and the work of her husband, Steve.
Oh, and Janet just made it into the American Watercolor Society this year!!!